HC Deb 10 November 1980 vol 992 cc77-8W
Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what improvement in life expectancy results from early diagnosis of breast cancer; whether the life expectancy of sufferers from the disease has changed since 1945; and what research into the cause and treatment of the disease is currently being undertaken by his Department.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Reliable information on the improvement in life expectancy which might result from early diagnosis of breast cancer is limited to a study carried out in New York. My Department is currently supporting major trials in this country to provide further evidence.

There is no evidence that the average life expectancy for women with breast cancer in this country has changed significantly since 1945. Small improvements apparent in recently published cancer survival statistics are thought to be largely due to changes in the method of calculation.

The principal Government agency for the support of research into the causes and treatment of cancer is the Medical Research Council, which together with the cancer research charities supports a large volume of work on the causes and treatment of breast cancer.